How to survive (and thrive) during summer break with your kids

If you’re needing ideas to get your kids motivated and out of their pjs by noon this summer, look no further!

We all love summer days because it means sleeping in and being lazy, but my kids take that idea to the extreme. There were days last summer when my seven-year-old didn’t get dressed til nearly 3 pm. And that was only because a friend came knocking on the door wanting to hang out.

This year, mom has new ideas.

We’ve implemented Button Jars this summer, and so far, it’s going better than I expected.

Button Jars

How to survive (and thrive) during summer break with your kids. Chores. Behavior. Family. Children.
Button Jars

We created these Button Jars at the beginning of summer to help motivate our kids to get up and do something every day! They get buttons each day for accomplishing certain tasks. 2 buttons are awarded for doing the chores of the day. 2 buttons for doing “homework” or reading. 1 button for good behavior at the store, church or school. 1 button for random acts of kindness. And each button equals 25 cents.

Our reward system is simple because our kids are so young. But you can adapt these to things you need for your family and the payout may be more than a quarter per button. That’s enough to keep our kids motivated so that’s what we do.

How to survive (and thrive) during summer break with your kids. Chores. Behavior. Family. Children. Incentives.
Button Jar Incentives

We also include a list of their daily chores. Growing up, my parents did a fantastic job of instilling the value of hard work into our lives. Where we currently live, there are not as many opportunities to do work outside, but we are doing our best to raise our kids right and make them work for things they want, like buttons.

How to survive (and thrive) during summer break with your kids. Chores. Behavior. Family. Children.
Getting the kids to *want* to clean the bathroom is an added bonus.

And shockingly, our kids like doing weird chores like cleaning the bathroom…yuck! Even the littlest little likes to help out, although most of the time it would be easier to just do the work myself. And it would certainly take less time!

How to survive (and thrive) during summer break with your kids. Chores. Behavior. Family. Children.
Even the littlest little joins in on the fun.

I’m a big fan of letting kids be kids and have fun, but this button jar concept has totally worked out to my advantage so far. We still give our kids the choice whether or not they want to put in the work to earn a button. And there have been many days already when they chose not to do chores or “homework.” Our only rule to that is that they don’t get screen time. Trust me, they want to get ready for bed and snuggle up in the summer and watch a show or two, but if they haven’t read for 20 minutes or finished their chores, it doesn’t happen. And surprisingly, sometimes at 8 o’clock at night, they are furiously doing their chores so they can watch 30 minutes before bed.

You can also simplify this if you want. Grab any container you have around the house and some buttons, fuzz balls or anything else small enough to fit in your jar. You can change the requirements each week or keep them the same. The possibilities for this idea are endless. And the best part of this is that we take away buttons for poor choices, so the amount of whining and complaining has really gone down in our house as well 😊

How to survive (and thrive) during summer break with your kids. Chores. Behavior. Family. Children.
The girls are loving this new Button Jar idea this summer.

I absolutely love summer break … and this is one way to help me stay sane with all three kids home every.single.day. And the kids have their own money to spend.

The best part is that they sometimes ask to do extra chores. Kids get rewarded and mom gets rewarded by having more time to be lazy and enjoy the summer with the kids.

It’s another win-win.

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